Smoking a Thanksgiving Turkey (infographic)

Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey

October 31, 2018

With the Holiday Season just around the corner, now it is the time to start thinking about what you are going to cook for your family and friends.

Are you interested in preparing a traditional roasted turkey? Or maybe you are looking to try something new this time? Have you ever considered smoking or grilling a turkey? Smoking a turkey will bring out its flavour and texture to a whole new level when compared to roasting. But, just like any meat, there are certain things to have in mind when you smoke the Thanksgiving Turkey.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey prepared by Chef

It all begins with the selection of the turkey. Most of the turkeys come frozen, so you need to know how to properly thaw it. There are three methods you can use to thaw it: in a cold water bath, microwave or leaving in the refrigerator for a while.

Another thing to consider is if you need to add brine to it or not. While some say it helps the flavour, I think it is not very important when smoking. However, the infographic below will give you a quick brine recipe to try yourself.
Preparing and grilling a turkey requires patience and dedication. You have to constantly check the internal temperature of the meat until it reaches the recommended levels. Undercooked turkey can be a potential for food-borne illnesses while the overcooked will not taste great and will be tough to eat.

Overall, your goal is to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Reaching the recommended internal temperatures ensures you that the meat is thoroughly cooked and safe for consumption.

After a happy, Thanksgiving meal, you have to think about how to store the leftovers away. Within two hours of cooking the bird, you can get them packed up and put them in the freezer or refrigerator.

With this overview in mind, I recommend you to take a deeper look at the infographic below from FuriousGrill, which will give you more details for each step and serve as a great all-around guide for you to prepare the perfect Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey.


How Long to Smoke a Turkey
Infographic by FuriousGrill.Com

Our Smoked Turkey Recipe

Serves 10 – 15 | Prep Time 2hr | Cooking Time 4hr | Total Time 6hr


  • 1 17 lb. Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB ground black pepper
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1/2 TB paprika
  • 1/4 cup of butter, soft

For Dry Brine

  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 TB cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB brown sugar


  1. Rinse the turkey under cold water. Soak up water with paper dry. Place on a baking sheet.
  2. Combine dry brine ingredients in a small bowl and rub on the exterior and internal cavity of the turkey.
  3. Place turkey in the refrigerator for two hours.
  4. Preheat smoker to 300°F.
  5. Loosen the skin around the turkey breast by inserting your hand. Use your hand to rub the softened butter under the skin. Then, use a paper towel to wipe most of the dry brine from the turkey skin. Brush on olive oil. Lightly sprinkle on black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
  6. Smoke at 275-300°F for about 4 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°F when measured in the thickest part of the breast. Baste the bird every hour with juices from the drip pan.


The smoked turkey has a golden brown appearance from taking on the smoke. If you’d like to limit the dark colour, you can wrap the bird with aluminium foil. This will cut down on the amount of smoke that reaches the skin.

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